South Connemara to be without a physiotherapist

by mary O’Connor

Financial constraints are behind the HSE West’s decision not to appoint a physiotherapist in South Connemara.

This important post, based in a primary care setting in Carraroe, became vacant a year ago when the existing physiotherapist left the service.

At the time, the health authority confirmed it was trying to fill the vacancy. However, now it has emerged that a physiotherapist will not be appointed and that the service will be reconfigured with only priority patients being seen at St Francis’ Primary Care Centre in Newcastle. Local TD Catherine Connolly said this is “simply unacceptable”.

“I raised the matter continually through Dáil Questions and at all times was led to believe that the service would resume and that the necessity for patients to travel in to Galway to the St Francis Centre was simply a temporary measure.

“Indeed the HSE West apologised to service users in South Connemara for any inconvenience caused and said the post would be filled as soon as possible. In a reply in April of this year the head of the Primary Care Services confirmed that the position of physiotherapist for Carraroe was awaiting sign off by the national director for Primary Care Services.”

It has now been confirmed, she stated, that the vacant physiotherapist post will not be replaced due to financial constraints.

Deputy Connolly said that this is a “deplorable response” from the HSE West and makes a “mockery” of all the responses to date confirming that the post would be filled.

“Not only have the HSE West utterly misled the people of South Connemara but the reconfiguration of the service means that not only will patients have to travel to Galway but only priority cases will be seen.”

Deputy Connolly added that the decision to end the service is “simply not acceptable”. She has raised it with the Minister for Health and is awaiting a response.

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